Is Christianity/Catholicism any more true than other religions?

Hello all,

Recently I have been feeling that Catholicism (and Christianity in General) is on equal ground with non-Christian religions when it comes to it’s truth value. I see people of other religions which are not Christian being great people, doing prayers, their prayers being answered, experiencing miracles, their Gods, etc. What makes one think that a single religion is any more true than the others? I really can’t see how this is possible when one puts them all on on the side of the other, there is no objective evidence that makes any other religion better other than the personal preference of the adherent. Some religion may be more consistent and may have more explanatory power but in reality no religion is any more true than the other.

I was thinking about joining either Catholicism or Orthodoxy, with a preference for Catholicism which I began to develop as I started to leran more about it. But having been a Pagan before, I am having the exact same feeligns of experience that I had before with Catholicism, to me it seems that the religion are just working models to experience the divine and nothing more.

I am not sure really, perhaps I should join Catholicism, but I no longer can see it as the only truth and much less see other religions as errant or damned.

Can anyone offer some advice on this? Thanks.

salival

Hi Salival,

If God did not reveal Himself, then any religion is true, good and pleasing to God.

If on the other hand, He revealed Himself, then religion must accept that revelation to be true, good and pleasing to God.

Actually God did reveal Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ. Christ revealed God to us by his life, death and resurrection and by his word. This message and this word came down to us in inspired written form (the Bible) and in other oral and written forms called Tradition.

Through some 65 generations Christians are witnesses to His death and resurrection, and therefore we believe in Him and His message.

Some other religions, notably Islam claim to have had a revelation from God. But Mohammed did die but did not resurrect. Some have claimed that he ascended into heaven. But the Qur’an never states that he ascended. This is not part of the so-called Islamic revelation.

The Catholic religion goes back to the apostles and to Christ through and unbroken chain of succession. Protestants and Orthodox, in different ways, claim that the Catholic Church went wrong. If this were true, then Christ would be a liar, for he said, that He would be with the Church till the end of times and that the gates of Hell would never prevail against her.

The Church of Christ never ceased to be the pure, undeflled bride of Christ. She is your Mother. Come to her and never leave her.

Verbum

Hello Verbum,

I understand what you mean and apreciate your post. But to me it seems that you are judging all religions in light of Catholicism and in a way that gives the upper hand to Catholicism by focusing everything on Christ. Why should this be so?

[quote=salival]Hello Verbum,

I understand what you mean and apreciate your post. But to me it seems that you are judging all religions in light of Catholicism and in a way that gives the upper hand to Catholicism by focusing everything on Christ. Why should this be so?
[/quote]

If it is true that Christ died and was resurrected, than those other religions are false. We can’t ignore that when judging other religions.

Dear Salival,

You ask why it is we must look at the world through Christ-colored glasses. I’m sure different people have different reasons. The worst reason I can think of is that some people do not have the capacity to look at things from different perspectives. I pray you do not come into this discussion with that perception, because it might automatically put you on the defensive. Personally, a person who can look at things from different perspectives and is yet able to choose the Faith once for all delivered to the Saints is the one best equipped to be a guide for others. Not that I myself am best-equipped to do so.

There are many here who have come to the Catholic faith from an infinite number of backgrounds and only after a tremendous soul-search. I myself come from a Protestant background. There are others here who were former pagans, or former atheists, or former Jews, or former Orthodox, or former Buddhist, or former Muslim, etc. Everyone has their own reasons for coming into the Catholic Church. What I can offer you are my own reasons. Generic and rational answers may only work for some, but I have an inkling you are of that certain mindset that needs more resolution than others. To me, that is a good thing, because it is only that mindset that is all the more solid in a faith in Christ when that person actually comes to that Faith in Christ.

I actually had a faith-shaking experience in college, when I took a comparative religions class and discovered the multitude of similarities between my Protestant faith and the Mediterranean religions that surrounded the Christianity of the first few centuries A.D. (or C.E. as politically correct people are wont to say, of which I am not). The Virgin Birth of Deity, death and resurrection of deity, death and resurrection of the body, the symbol and sign of baptism, belief in an afterlife, a place akin to Purgatory, eternal happiness, eternal damnation, a priesthood that offered sacrifice. All these things and more! What REALLY made my faith more special than all the other religions that surrounded it? I remember walking around for several months in a literal daze at the possibility that my faith was nothing more than the creation of man. What finally got me on the path, again? Well, first of all, I will say that the following is my witness as a Christian, which is what should be the most important consideration. It is not a relation of my path to Catholicism per se, but merely of my path in Christianity.

Prayer, prayer, prayer that God not only shows me the right path, but convicts me of the Truth. This was hard for a rational mind such as I had. I am an engineer by trade, so I am inclined to a rather materialist, rationalist frame of thought. I needed to stop looking, and trusting in God that he will change my heart on His own initiative and on His own time. This entailed a belief in a personal God who would answer my prayers. Though it has great ethical standards, this automatically left out Buddhism.

(continued)

(continued)

As an engineer, I was already aware of the concept of infinity, and accepted not only its possibility, but reality. As an engineer, I was also aware of an order in the Universe that could not come from anything else but a Rational Consciousness directing it. From there, it was a small step to realize that this Rational Consciousness, because It took the time to direct the Universe, was interested in me. I realized I had a Creator, and He was concerned about His Creation.

If this Creator was concerned about me, is it not rational to assume that He would take the time to make Himself known to me? This was the crux of my belief, and it was obtained not from reading Scripture (remember, at this time, I was shaken in my Christian faith), but merely from observing with the mental gifts I had (that I accepted came from my Creator) as an engineer.

Along this tortured path, I recalled that in Scripture, it stated that God had revealed Himself to all His creation, even before a single word of Scripture was written down. This is what is called Natural or General Revelation by theologians. This made sense, even in my doubtful frame of mind. IF THERE WERE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN MY FAITH AND ALL THE OTHER RELIGIONS AROUND IT, AND THAT EVEN PREDATED IT, THEN IT WAS ONLY BECAUSE GOD HAD REVEALED HIMSELF TO EVERYONE ON EARTH ALREADY A VERY LONG TIME AGO.

The next step in my mental spiritual struggle was in figuring out why there were different religions, if there was only one revelation and one Revelator from the beginning. I started reading the Church Fathers, and boy did they help me out. The earliest Church Fathers testified that religions were different because either man sought to add to the pure revelation, or because the Devil, under various guises, came to mislead man. In fact, these Fathers were wont to identify the many different gods of the various religions as demons – fallen angels – in disguise.

So does the pure revelation of the one Revelator still exist, and if it does, where can I find it?

To make a long story short, the search led me to the Catholic Church.

I hope this has helped you out. If you have any questions, please, please, please feel free to ask.

God bless,

Greg

P.S. May I suggest you subscribe to This Rock magazine. It has a great section in every issue called “Damascus Road” which features conversion stories (actually, it is the best section, in my opinion). They are moving and will give you some of the in-depth reasons that people have for joining the Church. The thing I find especially relevant about these conversion stories is that none of them are based on a bad experience of their former faith or position (e.g., bad pastor, bad parishioner, bad music, boring liturgy, etc). So there is a real sense that these conversions are genuine, instead of merely a stop along a long emotional road.

P.P.S. As your concern right now is different from when we first corresponded, do you still want that biblical and patristic proof for the principle of invincible ignorance. That topic seems more in the plane of high-level apologetics, than the basic soul-searching with which we are concerned at the moment.

[quote=salival]What makes one think that a single religion is any more true than the others? I really can’t see how this is possible when one puts them all on on the side of the other, there is no objective evidence that makes any other religion better other than the personal preference of the adherent.
[/quote]

To measure is to know. What is the measure of Man?

[quote=GAssisi]Dear Salival,

The worst reason I can think of is that some people do not have the capacity to look at things from different perspectives. I pray you do not come into this discussion with that perception

[/quote]

Dear GAssisi - I’m outside the thread and perhaps I’m not supposed to be so - but the quote from your thread above, really leapt out at me and gives me food for thought…and about myself!..including your comment about people like the above being defensive. Tar for that!:thumbsup: …I’ll give it thought …
Regards,
Barb
Cradle Catholic
South Australia
Wed. 6.4.05 7.33pm

[quote=salival]Hello all,

Recently I have been feeling that Catholicism (and Christianity in General) is on equal ground with non-Christian religions when it comes to it’s truth value. I see people of other religions which are not Christian being great people, doing prayers, their prayers being answered, experiencing miracles, their Gods, etc. What makes one think that a single religion is any more true than the others? I really can’t see how this is possible when one puts them all on on the side of the other, there is no objective evidence that makes any other religion better other than the personal preference of the adherent. Some religion may be more consistent and may have more explanatory power but in reality no religion is any more true than the other.

I was thinking about joining either Catholicism or Orthodoxy, with a preference for Catholicism which I began to develop as I started to leran more about it. But having been a Pagan before, I am having the exact same feeligns of experience that I had before with Catholicism, to me it seems that the religion are just working models to experience the divine and nothing more.

I am not sure really, perhaps I should join Catholicism, but I no longer can see it as the only truth and much less see other religions as errant or damned.

Can anyone offer some advice on this? Thanks.

salival
[/quote]

Dear Salival,

It is wonderful that you are seeking the truth and I commend you for it.

I know you ceased going to your original posting, probably because of all the bickering between the other participants, which is unfortunate.

I would like to give you a perspective of one of the Apostles who followed Jesus with a quote from the bible.

In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 8, the following conversation takes place:

27 Now Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, "You are the Messiah."
Peter confessed this belief to Jesus. In the whole world the only churches to carry this same confession are the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. All the other Christian religions are second to these great churches.

The two great churches were cast from the same mold. That mold, in part, is their role in carrying the message of the passage I cited above.

You would not make a mistake to become a member of either church. You only need to decide if you agree with the concept of a Pope as supreme spiritual leader to finish your decision.

Ask God to help you in your decision,
Subrosa

Hi Salival,

the upper hand to Catholicism by focusing everything on Christ. Why should this be so?

Christ claimed to be God and he said that he would die and resurrect on the third day. He did both. So He is God, and we must listen to Him.

Verbum

"Is Christianity/Catholicism any more true than other religions?"Yes and others have begun to list how/why.

To paraphrase and reinterpret some G.K. Chesterton sayings :

All religions are equal as race horses are equal. But, only one wins the race.

All Creeds are equal as all keys are equal. But, only one will open the door.


God Bless


todd

[quote=Genesis315]If it is true that Christ died and was resurrected, than those other religions are false. We can’t ignore that when judging other religions.
[/quote]

Well, then how true is it really that Jesus ressurected? We only have the gospels as evidence and those were written decades after the fact. The empty tomb has not been found either, why is it not kept like the Muslims keep mohamed?(for example)

Thanks for your reply Subrosa,

I understand the message of Jesus, but the problem is, that there are many different people who claimed to be messiahs and started different movements Think about Zoroatrianism, Manicheism, Hinduism, Buddhism, all these religions have their founder just like Christiainty and most of the time the founder is also atributted divine things like curing and doing miracles. There is also the greek and roman Gods, we may think of them now as supersticion but they were not that at their time, people talked to them and they helped them.

Know what I mean? How can we think that Catholicism is any more true or even real than the others?

[quote=Subrosa]Dear Salival,

It is wonderful that you are seeking the truth and I commend you for it.

I know you ceased going to your original posting, probably because of all the bickering between the other participants, which is unfortunate.

I would like to give you a perspective of one of the Apostles who followed Jesus with a quote from the bible.

In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 8, the following conversation takes place:

27 Now Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, "You are the Messiah."
Peter confessed this belief to Jesus. In the whole world the only churches to carry this same confession are the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. All the other Christian religions are second to these great churches.

The two great churches were cast from the same mold. That mold, in part, is their role in carrying the message of the passage I cited above.

You would not make a mistake to become a member of either church. You only need to decide if you agree with the concept of a Pope as supreme spiritual leader to finish your decision.

Ask God to help you in your decision,
Subrosa
[/quote]

[quote=salival]Thanks for your reply Subrosa,

I understand the message of Jesus, but the problem is, that there are many different people who claimed to be messiahs and started different movements Think about Zoroatrianism, Manicheism, Hinduism, Buddhism, all these religions have their founder just like Christiainty and most of the time the founder is also atributted divine things like curing and doing miracles. There is also the greek and roman Gods, we may think of them now as supersticion but they were not that at their time, people talked to them and they helped them.

Know what I mean? How can we think that Catholicism is any more true or even real than the others?
[/quote]

This is mostly a matter of faith. What we can learn from reason is that not all of these religion are true, for they contradict each other.

Also, if we see that Christianity is true and the others false then we can investigate which form of Christianity is the truest. We do this by investigating history and theology and seeing which comes out on top.

This can not be answered in a post and takes much study and prayer.

Peace

The Resurrection is the make-it-or-break-it claim in Catholicism.

The witness of the Apostles demands consideration. Either Jesus rose from the dead or he didn’t. If he didn’t then either the apostles were deceived, or just made up a myth, or even worse, lied outright.

Explore those possibilities, and figure out which is the most plausible.

[quote=salival]Well, then how true is it really that Jesus ressurected? We only have the gospels as evidence and those were written decades after the fact. The empty tomb has not been found either, why is it not kept like the Muslims keep mohamed?(for example)
[/quote]

Jesus existence and death are recorded by a few Jewish and Pagan (Roman) historians of the time. We know he definitely died and it was not a hoax because of how crucifixion works and how the Romans were thorough in making sure the person was dead. Likwise, we have the remains of Peter which shows evidence of his own crucifixion, supporting a long held tradition. Now, do you think he and the other apostles would have died such horrible deaths if they faked the resurrection? Or do you think they all had the same hallucination? Both possibilities are unlikely. The evidence shows it was more likely than not that Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected.

Your question is more of a statement of truth…than an actual question…if that makes any sense. You’re getting a lot of feedback that is completely wrong and biased…I don’t think I need to go into what is truth, fact etc… in the realm of religion. Religion is about faith…but it is also more importantly about your geographical location in the world…tied in with your pertinent cultural experience. I bet most Christians on this board don’t even realize that there were messiahs before Jesus…that loads of people were crucified, and then claimed to have come back…I don’t even believe that Jesus was the only one that came back in the stories in the bible…but I would need a fact checker on that…but regardless it’s irrelevant…becuase there are resurrection stories in other religions…Christianity has ripped off so much from zoroastrians and other ancient persian religions that it’s not even funny…but still it’s irrelevant…because It’s all about faith.

[quote=Genesis315]. We know he definitely died and it was not a hoax because of how crucifixion works and how the Romans were thorough in making sure the person was dead. .
[/quote]

Just so you know this is not objective fact. There are quite a few texts from religious historians…and I believe accounts where people have survived crucifixions

First of all GAssisi, thank you for taking the time to consider my questions and for going ot such lenghts to explain yourslef in this and the other topics. It is very apreciated.

Now as for your post…

[quote=GAssisi] If this Creator was concerned about me, is it not rational to assume that He would take the time to make Himself known to me? This was the crux of my belief, and it was obtained not from reading Scripture (remember, at this time, I was shaken in my Christian faith), but merely from observing with the mental gifts I had (that I accepted came from my Creator) as an engineer.

Yes, I more or less went thru the same reasoning. Now, how does one justifies that this God is indeed willing to take the time to make himself known to us? Why can’t this God just create the universe and let it run it’s course?

[/quote]

Along this tortured path, I recalled that in Scripture, it stated that God had revealed Himself to all His creation, even before a single word of Scripture was written down. This is what is called Natural or General Revelation by theologians. This made sense, even in my doubtful frame of mind. IF THERE WERE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN MY FAITH AND ALL THE OTHER RELIGIONS AROUND IT, AND THAT EVEN PREDATED IT, THEN IT WAS ONLY BECAUSE GOD HAD REVEALED HIMSELF TO EVERYONE ON EARTH ALREADY A VERY LONG TIME AGO.

So, the other religions who also have a dying/ressurecting savior, flood and creation stories and amazing tales about their founders were also true? I know that many Catholics like to say that these tales were a prefiguration or foreshadowing of the coming of Christ but issue comes on why should one be considered more true than the other when like I said we do not have any direct evidence from Christ himself and just eyewitness accounts about what people were told from other people who saw and that is only the four gospels.

The next step in my mental spiritual struggle was in figuring out why there were different religions, if there was only one revelation and one Revelator from the beginning. I started reading the Church Fathers, and boy did they help me out. The earliest Church Fathers testified that religions were different because either man sought to add to the pure revelation, or because the Devil, under various guises, came to mislead man. In fact, these Fathers were wont to identify the many different gods of the various religions as demons – fallen angels – in disguise.

I used to think that since all religions are different and often contradictory I figured that not all could be true and that there could only be one true religion. How can we be sure that this is the case? Why can’t there be unity in variety so to speak? Also if you consider the various religions(other than christianity) to be inspired by demons/fallen angels then I think that you are judgining them from a Christian perspective and I don’t think that it is fair.

So does the pure revelation of the one Revelator still exist,

and if it does, where can I find it?

We don’t know where just like we can’t know if for sure Christianity is indeed the “pure” revelation, we cannot prove it.

To make a long story short, the search led me to the Catholic Church.

When it comes to Christianity, the Catholic Church is indeed the most solid. But many people will say that this is just because of it’s lenght of history and dogmatic detail but that in reality it is virtually no difference between it and any other protestant denomination.

P.S. May I suggest you subscribe to This Rock

magazine

I will check it out, thanks.

P.P.S. As your concern right now is different from when we first corresponded, do you still want that biblical and patristic proof for the principle of invincible ignorance.

You can send it if you want, it woudl be nice to have it. Thanks.

salival

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